Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wed Section, The Cave & Feeling Captured

When I entered into the Cave, I imagined standing in front of four screens and simply watching what was played on them. Shortly into the first demonstration, though, I learned how it was interactive, in that I could explore the world within the Cave. Somewhere in traveling between lines of text and literally through letters, everything seemed to click. Hypermedia is not just a new way of mass-producing our thoughts, it is a completely new way of thinking. I understand that this is what we've been talking about all semester, but I did not physically and emotionally understand until I stepped into the Cave.

While diving through words and clicking on particular scenes for further exploration, I thought of Agre's description of being "captured in society." We generally feel the most free when we are moving about our day-to-day lives (and apparently while driving a car, which was brought up in lecture). Our communication, exploration, and sense of movement give us the feeling that we can do anything. On the contrary, stepping into a 4-screen cube sounds relatively confining. There is nowhere to physically move, nothing to choose to do except leave. These are completely false predictions, though, as Agre discusses at length in his article. The fact that we can be tracked in everyday actions such as driving and email (via technology) makes the Cave the place where we have the most freedom. By being fully immersed in the Cave we are most free. There are no "economic exchanges" to be made with other humans, only the sense of the individual.

Now, that being said, I am sure a single computer controls what is displayed on the Cave... Add that to only one set of 3D glasses being able to control what all the other glasses are seeing, and we have a completely different argument. The take home message for me is that I now literally felt how surrounded I am. Leaving the Cave didn't make me feel free, but actually more confined in the real world. I'll be interested to see how others define their experiences and how they will connect them to the course readings.

No comments: